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Don't turn down training in downturn

Construction bosses are being urged to stay committed to staff training to safeguard the sector's workforce during the recession.
With its forecast report predicting recession during 2009-2011 and gradual recovery from 2011-2013, the Construction Skills Network (CSN)'s latest research, also states the annual recruitment requirement (averaged over the next five year period) is 37,000 new entrants a year.

This figure (which does not include new entrant trainees) is a fall of 5,000 new workers from the CSN's autumn 2008 forecast.

In response to the newly-published report's findings, Mark Farrar, chief executive of the sector skills council, ConstructionSkills, said: 'The importance of firms ensuring that their employees are well trained and capable of delivering high quality work - both now and when the industry returns to growth - should not diminish.'

He said: 'After a forecasted contraction of 3% in 2009, followed by no growth in 2010, we expect an incremental recovery culminating in a growth rate of 3% by 2013, largely due to public sector spending and potential market recovery from 2011'.

The Construction Skills Network, is a partnership between Construction Skills, the government, construction firms and training providers.

Sandra Lilley, manager of the Construction Skills Network, said: 'A recession is not a time to decrease training levels, and if that happens, the long term skills deficit will be severe. These are issues we still face from the recession in the 1990s.'

In 2008's pre-budget report, Alistair Darling told the public sector to act as a 'best practice' construction client and only award contracts to businesses that use apprentices as part of their workforce.

ConstructionSkills has set up a matching service to help find placements for apprentices facing redundancy. The service is already assisting more than 1,200 young people whose apprenticeships are at risk.
4 February 2009

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